Ivy league university offers course in ‘Wasting Time on the Internet’

Beginning in 2015, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) will offer an English course that requires students do nothing but surf the web and waste time.  

The Ivy League course, “Wasting time on the Internet,” is taught by Kenneth Goldsmith, a professor and renowned poet at UPenn who previously tried to print the internet.

“We spend our lives in front of screens, mostly wasting time: checking social media, watching cat videos, chatting, and shopping,” the UPenn course description reads. “What if these activities—clicking, SMSing, status-updating, and random surfing—were used as raw material for creating compelling and emotional works of literature?”

The course instructs students to distract themselves and drift aimlessly while they “stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs.” 

"I want their attention across tablets, phones, screens, music," Goldsmith said in an interview with Motherboard. "I want it divided many, many times."

"I think it's complete bullshit that the internet is making us dumber. I think the internet is making us smarter. There's this new morality built around guilt and shame in the digital age," he said.

At the end of the course students will use their browser histories, messages, or screenshots to create a "compelling and emotional work of literature."

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @CalebBonham